Maybe you’ve already got good search engine … Maybe lots of sites have linked to you, and people are able to find your little piece of … without much trouble. However, once they’ve b
Maybe you’ve already got good search engine placement. Maybe lots of sites
have linked to you, and people are able to find your little piece of
cyberspace without much trouble. However, once they’ve been there, do they
ever come back?
There are two keys to earning repeat visitors: fresh content and interactive
If you can offer your visitors new articles, columns, interviews,
information, jokes, cartoons, pictures, etc. every few days, great. But if
you can’t, you have another option: let the visitors work for you. Here’s
The simplest way to keep people coming back for more is to put up a message
board. There are several free ones (http://www.bravenet.com offers a good
one) that you can link to your site with very little effort. It’s not enough
just to put it up there, though. You must also be the ringleader-start
several interesting threads yourself. Give your vistors a reason to respond
to your threads. How?
· Ask questions related to your content
· Ask people to introduce themselves
· Discuss a controversial topic
· Comment on something in the news that relates to your content
· Tell a funny story or joke, and ask visitors to post their own
· Encourage visitors to post feedback about what they’d like to see on your
· Ask people to vote for their favorite [blank]. Movie, band, magazine,
· Offer simple tips in your field of expertise, and ask visitors to add their
Want to make your board look more active? Post responses to your own
messages under different names. Or ask friends to post, just to get the
discussions flowing. Whenever someone posts, at least in the beginning, drop
him or her an e-mail to say, “Thanks for visiting my forum.”
Be sure you have the ability to delete offensive messages and spam from your
board, or you may scare people away from posting.
People love contests. Not just the ones in which you can win a million
dollars or a trip to the Bahamas, but little giveaways. Free t-shirts or
books or gift certificates. Think you can’t afford it? Think again.
If you run a monthly contest, and offer a prize worth $10, your total cost
per month shouldn’t be over $13 (including postage.)
What kind of contest should you run?
Forget the simple “enter your e-mail address here and get a chance to win”
kind, unless you have an e-mail newsletter and want to build your
subscription base. Instead, call upon your visitors’ creativity and
challenge them to write a winning response to an interesting question.
This can be as simple as “come up with a slogan for my site” or “write a
caption for this photo.” It can also be more in-depth, like, “write a poem
about [your topic],” “write a top ten list of why you should win this
contest,” or “tell the funniest/most embarrassing/greatest thing that’s ever
happened to you.”
These kinds of contests offer the chance to boost traffic in three ways:
1. It gives you something newsworthy to announce on other sites. Visit other
message boards and drop notes to webmasters, asking them to announce your
2. Visitors will return next month to check out your next contest.
3. You can ask site visitors to vote for the best entry after you’ve selected
By offering this last option, you’ll drive new traffic to your site, because
entrants will ask their friends and family to come to your site to vote for
them. Your regular visitors will come back to see who made the “finals” and
who won. You can use an automated voting script if you don’t want to
hand-count the results.
HIGHLIGHT YOUR VISITORS
Appeal to your visitor’s desire for Internet fame. Here are possible ways to
let your visitors become stars on your site:
· Post short interviews or bios of people who actively participate on your
· Set up a links page, where visitors can post short descriptions of their
· Give visitors the option to post a photo.
· Profile a “visitor of the month” on your homepage.
· Allow visitors to submit columns or articles for inclusion on your site.
· Post a “quotes” page, in which you post the most interesting quotes from
your message board or e-mails.
· Offer an award for other webmasters. This is also an easy way to get other
webmasters to link to you, as your award graphic should be linked back to
· Include a “brag page” in which visitors can submit their latest
accomplishments and good news.
You’ll build loyalty when visitors feel that you recognize them. In the wide
and anonymous world of cyberspace, many people long to “get personal.” And
if you make your visitors feel at home at your website, they may just decide
to sit down and stay a while. And come back for more.
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